The Way It Is: The Day After
Super Bowl XLIV will always be known for the New Orleans Saints’ first Super Bowl victory. But, I will forever commit to memory Saints head coach Sean Payton’s fortitude. Three major calls – a fourth and goal go-for-it, the opening second-half onside kick and a two-point conversion – will carry him into coaching lore. Plain and simple, Payton outcoached the Colts’ Jim Caldwell.
The game did live up to its offensive billing. Saints quarterback Drew Brees, winner of the Super Bowl MVP, tied the record for most completions (32) in a Super Bowl. And, Brees and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning set the record for most completions in a Super Bowl by the starting quarterbacks (63). The Saints and Colts combined for a whopping 764 yards of offense.
My jaw dropped in the third quarter when Manning hit tight end Dallas Clark for a 26-yard gain. Two defenders jumped to bat the ball down and a total of five Saints were in the area. That Manning pass defined threading the needle. It’s a shame Manning will be remembered for his fourth quarter pass intercepted by defensive back Tracy Porter.
With the Colts’ loss, fans and media everywhere will begin to question Manning’s legacy. There is no doubt Manning is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but he is not in the all-time upper-echelon of NFL quarterbacks.
At halftime, The Who put on an amazing show. However, the English band should have allowed the Sun Life Stadium crowd to sing the entire set instead of them.
Appearing on the NFL Network set last week, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio, answering Rich Eisen’s question about how much he wishes he could be in another division and not with the Colts and Manning, blurted, “Quite often.” At least Del Rio is honest.
The third question posed to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at his Friday press conference dealt with the Jaguars’ struggles to fill Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. In response, Goodell stated, “You can’t continue to have an NFL franchise with 40,000 people in the stands.” If that isn’t a flat-out get-your-act-together answer, then I don’t know what is.
The Jaguars lose leadership in the locker room with the upcoming cuts of wide receiver Torry Holt and offensive tackle Tra Thomas. In 12 starts, Holt, who caught 51 balls for 722 yards, shaped the Jaguars’ wide receiving corps last season. His presence was felt more off the field than on it. The organization must feel confident in the direction the young receivers are headed. Early reports are that the Chicago Bears are interested in Holt’s skills. Certainly, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler needs a viable No. 1 receiver.
Tra Thomas, a starter for Jacksonville in only three games, was overshadowed by first-round selection Eugene Monroe. I trust general manager Gene Smith knows Monroe does not need a highly-paid backup. Both these cuts are excellent signs for the Jaguars’ future. Today, February 8, is the first day NFL teams can release players.
Last week, on the Dan Patrick Show, on whether owner Wayne Weaver said he was interested in Tim Tebow, Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew replied, “I think Tim would come to Jacksonville and there would be so much pressure on him because what he did at Florida, he is from the city, everybody is going to be all hyped up about it…”
Jones-Drew said it best when asked about the tackling in the regular season compared with the Pro Bowl: “They are not tackling [in the Pro Bowl].”
Speaking with a handful of journalists and radio personalities from around Florida, they all think the Jaguars will pass on Tebow in the first round, but should draft him in the third.
My favorite moment from my first Radio Row was meeting Hall of Famer and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach. Nobody was near him except for ex-vice president of player personnel for the Cowboys Gil Brandt. Staubach resembles singer Art Garfunkel more than he does a two-time Super Bowl champion.
Second favorite experience was seeing the stars of this summer’s film Grown Ups – Kevin James, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider and David Spade – taking photos and signing autographs for any fan who asked.
Except for the digital shorts – does anyone watch Saturday Night Live?
Richard Miller is a national broadcaster for Jacksonville Jaguars’ home games on Sporting News Radio. Additionally, he can be heard on ABC 1320 WBOB in Jacksonville at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesdays with The Jacksonville Observer Radio Show.
Richard contributes to Inside the Game with Robin Valetutto every Saturday from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Currently, Richard is writing David Lamm’s biography entitled Lamm at Large: The David Lamm Story, which will be available in 2010.
Follow Richard’s daily blog on The Jacksonville Observer.
You can e-mail Richard at Richard.Miller@jaxobserver.com